web analytics
March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Forty: Locusts

The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Cover of Tevye in the Promised Land by Tzvi Fishman.

Or so they thought until they took a closer look at the earth and discovered thousands and thousands of eggs!

That night, Tevye slept restlessly. The clamor of the pots and the pans continued to ring in his head. He dreamed of bondage in Egypt and the plagues God had sent to humble Pharaoh.

“Let my people go!” Tevye yelled out in his sleep.

The locust storm lasted a week. After a long, solemn Sabbath, the troublesome eggs had to be gathered. Myriads upon myriads remained in the fields. Workers and settlers alike got down on their hands and knees to pick them out of the soil. Like the pioneers had done in clearing the swamps, ditches were dug and the eggs were dumped inside. After pouring arsenic into the pits, the locust graveyards were sealed. The Jews all prayed that the clean-up would put an end to the enemy, but, as Elisha pointed out, if neighboring settlements didn’t take the same precautions, a new invasion was sure to erupt. Messengers galloped off to coordinate the campaign with the other Jewish colonies along the coast, but no one was certain that Bedouin villages would agree to join in the battle against the eggs to prevent them from hatching. When the clean up was finished, the settlers set to work plowing and planting, as if they were starting anew. Besides the loss of their produce, the poisons used in destroying the eggs cost large sums of money. And five cows were lost when they lapped up a trough-full of groats which had been inadvertently sprinkled with the arsenic used in destroying the eggs.

Shimon was crushed. Here, they had almost proven that a colony could survive without the massive bureaucratic machine of the Baron, and then, as if overnight, the locusts had wiped out their gains.

“It isn’t as bad as all that,” Tevye said, trying to cheer him. “After all, in the beginning we started out with nothing at all. This time, we are starting out with houses, and barns, plus dry, workable farmland, and fields that have already been plowed.”

For all of Tevye’s optimism, the always energetic Shimon was a crestfallen man when he rode off to Zichron Yaacov to put in a request for emergency JCA aid.

Once again, Tevye returned to work in the fields.

“Don’t despair,” he said to himself over and over until the famous Talmudic teaching turned into a song. “Even if a sword is poised to slit a man’s neck, it is forbidden to fall into despair.”

As he walked along scattering seeds into a dry sandy wind, he glanced up at the horizon. At first, he thought that the advancing black cloud was rain. Then he reasoned that it must be a dust storm. But as he stood shielding his eyes from the increasing gusts, his fears were soon proven true. Once again, coming out of the north, locusts flew out of the sky like flashes of angry lightening. A vast cloud spread over the colony as if covering the face of the earth. Like in the days of the Flood, the sun disappeared in the face of God’s wrath. Locusts hopped, jumped, and flew over everything. Wings slashed at Tevye’s face like daggers. Within minutes, whatever vegetation remained in the fields was totally consumed.

Holding his arms over his head, Tevye staggered through unending swarms toward the shelter of his house. Animals cried out in panic as settlers herded them toward the barns.

“How much, O Lord?” he asked. “How much suffering does a man have to bear to prove his devotion to You?”

When he barged open the door to his house, tears were streaming down Carmel’s face. She had been in the field with Moishe and Hannei when the new storm appeared in the sky. Before they could return to the house, the locusts engulfed them. Carmel had lost a hold of the children. They were still wandering somewhere outside in the tempest.

“Where were you?!” Tevye demanded.

“We had just reached the orange grove,” she answered.

In an instant, Tevye was out of the house. Locusts smashed at his face. He couldn’t see two steps ahead of him. Looking down at his shoes, he forged his way through the storm in the direction of the orange grove. Locusts battered him fiercely, darting into his eyes and catching a hold of his beard. Blindly, he staggered forward, shouting out the names of the children. When he reached the orange grove, he heard Moishe calling. The grove was no longer a grove, but a cemetery of leafless trees. Calling to one another, Tevye made his way toward the boy’s voice. Hannei was sobbing hysterically. Her brother lay over her, protecting her from the hurricane of ravaging insects.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Forty: Locusts”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Americans have a more favorable view of Netanyahu than they do of Obama.
Americans’ Favorable View of Netanyahu at Record High, Says Gallup Poll
Latest Sections Stories
Golan Wine Medals

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-forty-locusts/2013/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: